2 April 2018
Commenting after the debate on Motion 15, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT section of the National Education Union, said:
“Libraries are an essential part of school and community life and as relevant now as they ever have been. Tragically, over the past decade the number of school libraries staffed by qualified librarians has declined rapidly. School budgets have been cut to the bone, making it impossible for many to keep running library services.
“Currently in England, the provision of appropriately staffed prison libraries is statutory for local government and the HM Prisons Service. However the provision of school and college libraries is not. This is a very short sighted approach to children and young people’s learning.
“Given the closure of many public libraries, we are losing the tools to create confident, excited young readers. On those grounds the provision of school and college libraries should be statutory. To not prioritise them in such a way is a very short-sighted approach by Government to children and young people’s learning.
“Reading for pleasure is a skill for life and is consistently shown to be one of the most powerful springboards for children’s engagement with learning, thinking and creating. The Government needs to put libraries, books and reading for pleasure centre-stage in its vision for children and young people.”